The cost to be rescued from the piste

Unwary skiers hurt or lost on the slopes in Europe could find themselves being presented with an average bill for £16,000 if a search and rescue team is called out to help them.

 According to Columbus Direct, calling out the mountain search and rescue team can cost thousands of pounds.  This can come as a very unwelcome surprise to many British skiers, who mistakenly believe these services are free as they are in the UK.

The company has produced a map showing the average costs for search and rescue operations. The c research shows that people are more likely to have to pick up the bill in Europe while in North America, the Coast Guard or National Park Services will pay for search and rescue operations.

Greg Lawson of Columbus Direct says, “You may assume local emergency services, local government or even your own government will cover you if you ever have to be rescued but in most places this is not the case. If you go off-piste while on holiday and require search and rescue, you could end up paying the bill. A rescue in the Swiss Alps can easily cost you around €19,000, while in Idaho they are allowed to charge up to US$4,000 for saving out-of-bounds skiers.”

When it comes to the different types of costs associated with search and rescue operations, air ambulance repatriation was by far the most expensive bill to pay, costing around £50,000.

General costs associated with search and rescue operations in Europe:

  • Helicopter- up to £2100 an hour
  • Airlift to hospital- up to £2500
  • Repatriation- up to £6000
  • Helicopter evacuation- up to £9000
  • Air ambulance repatriation- up to £50000
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The cost to be rescued from the piste
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